Editors Note: I know this site is for Dads, hence the name DadLifts, but I wanted to have a piece about something many of us deal with, but rarely ever get the perspective of a woman’s point of view.  So, I asked Liz, my friend and former chiropractor (I live too far away now) to write about her experience with breastfeeding her baby.  I knew she had been through a lot, and I thought it would be great for us dads to see it through not only a mother’s eyes, but also a holistic health professional and chiropractor.  
My son is 1 1/2 years old now. It’s hard to believe we’ve made it to this point knowing what we’ve been through when he was itty bitty. Before ever becoming pregnant, I knew I wanted to breast feed my baby, not because I thought it would give us some special bond, but because of the health benefits for my baby. Since a young age, I have battled asthma, allergies and eczema and about 5 years ago found out I was intolerant to gluten, and this has caused some major quality of life challenges for me.

Breastfeeding a baby helps reduce the risk that the child will have these conditions, so I was going to do it, it wasn’t an option. Now, I know a lot of women give up breast feeding, so I assumed it must be hard, but I’ve done a lot of hard things in my life, including graduating with my doctorate magna cum laude and opening my own business at the age of 23, so how hard could it really be?

My son was born and everything seemed fine until he wasn’t pooping often enough and wasn’t gaining weight. I consulted 4 different lactation consultants and many medical professionals and alternative health professionals and I read resource after resource on breastfeeding and increasing production. Breastfeeding is mostly the law of supply and demand — when there is more demand, there is more supply. This concept is simple enough, so I nursed and pumped every 1-2 hours. In the night if he slept through a feeding, I still got up and pumped several times. After 2 weeks of this plus taking a horde of supplements (fenugreek, fish oil, go-Lacta and others) and eating oats like crazy (they are lactogenic) he still wasn’t back to birth weight. I began supplementing with donor milk.

My daily routine became: nurse, bottle feed/SNS, pump, clean pump parts, change diapers, eat some food or drink water if time, all while trying to decipher if my son’s was crying because he was still hungry or for some other reason, repeat. All day, every day. My resolve was challenged. Why could I not make milk? So many times I wanted to give up, but I knew it wasn’t an option, Then the donor milk ran really low and I had to begin formula. I read the labels on the formulas — I’m supposed to feed my baby boy GMO corn syrup laden commercial formula? I don’t think so, that wasn’t okay by me. Instead, I began making my own fresh goat milk formula daily and continued the nursing and pumping. This continued until he was 10 months old and I stopped pumping after each feeding and just nursed him for comfort. By the time he turned one year I had so little milk left for him that he would refuse to nurse. It was heart wrenching, but I knew I had given it my all, and then some.

Breastfeeding was and still is the most difficult thing I have ever done, in my whole life. Opening and managing a business — cake walk! So to all the CEO’s of any big corporation, know that you aren’t powerful and important, unless you’ve breastfed with complications while doing it. I have gained so much greater respect for any mom who has breastfed due to my journey and I nearly cry when I see other moms with breastfeeding issues due to the lack of good postpartum care in our medical model. I still don’t know what caused my low supply after seeing so many health professionals, but after tons of personal research including lactation training and with my nutritional background, I am slowly but surely enacting a plan for reducing this chance with any of my future babies by following a Whole30 diet, hormone support supplements, resistance training and a really good facebook support group for mom’s with low milk supply.

I often reflect on the time I spent feeding my son. I could have accomplished so many other things with my career, but instead I worked hard to feed him and I will never regret that.

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” John Trainer, MD

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About The Author

Elizabeth Berg
Dr. Of Chiropractic
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Elizabeth Berg is a doctor of chiropractic and natural health professional, certified in Acupuncture, certified in the Webster Technique through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and is finishing coursework to become certified in Lactation Consulting so that she can help other mom's with low supply from a holistic perspective.